Triathlon's fourth discipline - TRANSITION for beginners
The sport of triathlon is not only defined by swim bike and run. Transition can play a massive role in how you get on, whatever level of triathlete you think you might be.
First of all, it is important to determine one thing - are you competing, or completing. This will form the basis of your transitions. For those competing, the marginal gains of a flying mount vs static mount could be the edge between you and your closest competitor. For those completing, the simplest, easiest and most straight forward transitions will see you through in good shape!
Having helped many a triathlete with transition training over the years, have a look at the below tips and tricks to make your life easier with your upcoming races.
On race day, get to the race HQ as early as the race organisers allow according to your wave and get to know your transition area. Where is the swim start and exit, bike out and bike in, and run out. You are not allowed to mark your area with flags or balloons, so make sure you have a system whereby you can find your bike after the swim! I like to take a sharpie pen and not the racking number and amount of paces from swim entry to transition to my bike. Good tip for bigger races with very busy transition areas!
Set up your transition area as faff free as possible, take the bare essentials for your race and leave everything else with your support crew/nearby. Remember, you may feel a bit dizzy/cold coming out of the swim, so make life easy for yourself. The pic below outlines a good example. Sunglasses ready, arms open. Race belt with number clipped on, ready. Helmet ready to put on, clips undone. It's also worth noting that you should leave your laces undone/loose so you can easily get your feet in the shoes. If using cycling/triathlon shoes, straps open. Running shoes ready (if not wearing them to cycle in as well...)
Make sure your bike is in good working order and is in a sensible/appropriate gear for the beginning of the ride.
When you are nearing the end of your swim, the very best advice I can give is to kick your legs a little harder than normal - this sends blood down to your legs, making it less likely you will feel dizzy/drowsy when you stand up after your swim.
Once out of the water, lift goggles onto your forehead, release the velcro of your wetsuit. Grab hat and googles and release one from from your suit, leaving your hat and goggles in the sleeve. One less thing to worry about! Pull your other arm free, roll the suit to your waist and make your way to transition.
Once at your bike, roll your wetsuit down as far as possible and release your legs. hang your suit over the transition bar.
Now put shoes (and socks if you're opting for them) on, glasses, race belt with number at the back and your helmet on and DO THE CLIP UP.
You can now take your bike and go to the bike exit. Both you and your bike MUST BE OVER THE MOUNT LINE before you get on your bike. The video below shows you how you can practise at home without getting in and out of your wetsuit!!
Coming back in off the bike, you must be OFF YOUR BIKE BEFORE THE DISMOUNT LINE. Get your bike back on the racking (where you picked it up from too...) switch to your running shoes and running hat, switch your race belt so your number is on the front and off you go! The video below shows how to transition from bike to run.
Once you are out on the run it's now all down to you and whatever it takes to get over that start line.
If you feel like you need some more help on this, why not consider joining us on one of our Tri Skills Days where we cover all of this and much much more!